The Best Homemade Lasagna Recipe {VIDEO}

A Classic Homemade Lasagna recipe should be in every recipe box. Homemade meat sauce with fresh herbs, tender pasta, and creamy cheese filling come together for a deep-dish dinner you just can’t beat. 

If you can’t get enough casserole dinner recipes, then you’ll want to check out some of our other favorites such as  Baked Spaghetti Pie, Cheesy Ravioli Bake, or our favorite Three Cheese Baked Mostaccioli

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close up of Homemade Lasagna layers

Why We Love This Homemade Lasagna Recipe

One of the best ways to get dinner on the table in a hurry is to make a one-dish meal. Convenient and easy cleanup—without sacrificing taste or elegance. One of the favorites in our house is lasagna. It’s easy, you can make the sauce ahead of time for even quicker prep or make the full dish and freeze it for a homemade dinner on a busy night.

Lasagna has been a “specialty” of mine since middle school. We made it in home ec class and I made it at home for my family. My homemade lasagna was an instant hit and became a family favorite that was always made by me.

A few years ago I started tweaking that lasagna recipe until I came up with this recipe that my family gives two thumbs up. My picky husband says it’s the best lasagna I’ve ever made! 

I’ve always loved a good meaty, cheesy lasagna. It’s a dish that’s filling, flavorful, relatively easy to make, serves a crowd, and keeps well, making it a great choice for any gathering or gifting. Homemade lasagna is always worth sharing.

A tray of Homemade Lasagna

What is Lasagna?

Lasagna is considered an Italian dish that’s made of stacked layers of thin, flat pasta alternating with fillings. Our version of lasagna is very Americanized compared to the true lasagna in Italy. Italian lasagna is actually made with a meaty Bolognese sauce and creamy bechamel (white sauce) mingling between pasta layers.

Lasagna recipes have been around since the early thirteenth century. In its simplest form lasagna has just three components — thin flat noodles, sauce, and cheese.

Today, lasagna is made in many varieties from vegetable lasagna with cream sauces to a traditional sauce for cheese lasagna as well as beef lasagna. A big part of the appeal of lasagna is the toasty cheese on top!

 

A bite of homemade lasagna on a fork

What’s In Homemade Lasagna

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

For this recipe, you’ll need a 9×13 dish and this recipe! So, get out your shopping list because you won’t want to leave anything out!

  • Salsiccia– This is basically ground Italian sausage. You can use Italian sausage or even seasoning ground pork if needed.
  • Ground beef– In addition to the ground sausage, you’ll also be using ground beef. Be sure to grab a high-quality ground beef for this lasagna recipe. 
  • Lasagna noodles– This recipe uses wavy noodles soaked in hot water. You will want to get regular lasagna noodles, not the no-boil variety. 
  • Fresh Herbs and spices– To really bring out the flavor, you’ll need fresh oregano, rosemary, basil, and parsley stems. Don’t forget the garlic cloves, too!
  • Olive oil– You will need olive oil to saute your fresh herbs. Extra virgin olive oil will give this lasagna the best flavor. 
  • Tomatoes– You’ll use a can of San Marzano tomatoes (they are sweeter, less acidic tomatoes). You can find these in the canned food aisle. 
  • Tomato sauce– Grab two 8-ounce cans of tomato sauce for this lasagna recipe. 
  • Seasonings– You’ll need garlic salt, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg. 
  • Ricotta cheese– This is a classic Italian-inspired cheese. It gives the lasagna a creamy texture. 
  • Egg– You may not think eggs belong in lasagna, but you will need 1 egg to hold your ricotta mixture together. 
  • Cheese– This dish is layered with sliced mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese. 

photo collage of how to make lasagna at home

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How to Make Easy Homemade Lasagna

Are you ready to make the best lasagna you’ve ever had? Follow the steps below for a dish the whole family will love!

Season and Cook the Meat: First, season and cook the meat in a large skillet (per the recipe below).

Make the sauce: To make the sauce, you’ll saute your fresh herbs in olive oil. Then, you’ll add garlic, crushed tomatoes, and tomato sauce to the skillet. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Add the cooked meat and simmer for 30 minutes. 

Prep the noodles: Place your lasagna noodles in a large dish. Pour hot water over the noodles making sure they are completely covered. Let them soak for 30 minutes while the sauce simmers. 

Make Ricotta Mixture: Combine the ricotta cheese, egg, salt, and nutmeg. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Preheat and Prep: Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease a deep 9×13 lasagna pan with cooking spray.

Layer your lasagna: Arrange your lasagna layers in the pan starting with 1 cup of meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, then noodles, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat layers ending with mozzarella on top.

Bake: Cover your lasagna loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 

Cool for 15-30 minutes before serving (this will keep it from becoming runny and help hold its shape). A stainless steel serrated server is perfect for slicing lasagna.

Serve the best homemade lasagna with Easy Pull-Apart Garlic Rolls and a Simple Italian Salad.

how to layer lasagna

FAQs for Homemade Lasagna

Is Lasagna Better with Cottage Cheese Or Ricotta?

Ricotta and cottage cheese have a similar flavor profile making them interchangeable. Ricotta is creamier and easier to spread with a slightly sweeter taste, while cottage cheese is lumpy. You can certainly and use cottage cheese instead of ricotta, there’s little to no difference in the final taste. Nor do you need to adjust the amount. Note that ricotta does have more calories, so if you’re looking for a lighter option, you may want to go with cottage cheese.

How Many Layers Should Lasagna Have?

There is no set number of layers for lasagna, but it should have at least 3 layers. Most lasagnas have 3-4 layers, your pan is going to set your limitation. A really deep lasagna pan may hold 5-6 layers for a filling dish, but I don’t recommend going any higher –unless you’re trying to set a record for the most layers in a lasagna 🙂 

Does It Matter How You Layer Lasagna?

There’s no rule on how to layer lasagna, but it is recommended to start with a layer of sauce to prevent the noodles from sticking to the pan. From there add cheeses and top with meat sauce.  Continue to layer ending with a layer of cheese on top.

What Kind Of Pan Should I Use For Homemade Lasagna

A glass pan will distribute heat evenly but take longer to heat up.  While a metal pan will cook faster and give you crispy edges, an aluminum pan can give your lasagna a metallic taste. 

Lasagna is usually baked in a 9×13 pan (the deeper the better), with straight sides and handles.

I usually reach for my glass pyrex but a porcelain-coated cast iron pan is a great choice if you love those crispy edges.

The Best Homemade Lasagna on a white plate

Do I Have to Saute The Herbs?

You don’t have to use the fresh herbs at all, but I feel it gives the sauce a subtle hint of herbal deliciousness. If you don’t want to saute the herbs, you can use 1 ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning blend or ground oregano. 

Do I Need to Boil My Lasagna Noodles?

No! This recipe is using dry wavy lasagna noodles soaked in hot water. Because they are soaked in hot water, they will still cook well in the oven. There’s no need to boil them or to get no-boil noodles. 

Can I Make Homemade Lasagna Ahead?
Absolutely! Allow your meat sauce to cool completely (you run the chance of bacteria growth if you don’t), then you can assemble the lasagna, cover it with foil, and place it in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking it. However, make sure to bring it to room temperature before baking. 

Can I freeze it? 
Yes! Homemade lasagna freezes beautifully. Sometimes I make a double or triple batch and freeze the extras. You will want to follow all of the instructions except cooking the lasagna. You will freeze the lasagna before it’s cooked to keep it fresh later. Once you are ready to eat your lasagna, remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cook it according to the directions below and enjoy. 

Like This Homemade Lasagna Recipe? Pin It!

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close up of a serving of lasagna with a cheesy top

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close up of Homemade Lasagna layers

The Best Homemade Lasagna

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

A classic HOMEMADE LASAGNA recipe should be in every recipe box. Homemade meat sauce with fresh herbs, tender pasta, and creamy cheese filling come together for a deep-dish dinner you just can’t beat.

Ingredients

Meat

  • 1 pound salsiccia (ground Italian sausage)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

For Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 stems of each: fresh Italian parsley and oregano *see notes
  • 2 stems of each: fresh rosemary and basil *see notes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Pasta

  • 15-18 lasagna noodles *see notes

Ricotta Mixture

  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Cheese Layer

  • 1 pound thinly sliced mozzarella (I try to get 24 slices) or 3-4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 ½ cups grated Paremesan

Instructions

  1. Cook the Meat: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef, sausage, garlic salt, and pepper until the meat is well browned. Remove from heat, drain most of the fat, and set the pan aside.
  2. Make the Sauce: Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add fresh herbs and cook 5 minutes until crisp. Remove herbs and discard them. Add garlic to the oil, then crush tomatoes with your hands and add to the pot along with tomato sauce. Season the sauce with kosher salt, ground pepper, and crushed red pepper. Add the cooked meat to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. For Noodles: Meanwhile, place lasagna noodles in a large dish. Pour hot tap water over the noodles making sure the pasta is completely covered. Allow the noodles to soak for 30 minutes while the sauce simmers, then drain and discard water.
  4. Ricotta Mixture: In a medium mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese with the egg, salt, and nutmeg. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagna.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a deep lasagna pan with cooking spray
  6. To Assemble: Layer as follows (from bottom to top) spread 1 cup of meat sauce in the bottom of prepared baking dish / arrange 6 noodles overlapping / spread 1/3 ricotta mixture over noodles / top with 6 slices of mozzarella / 2 cups of meat sauce / 1/3 of the parmesan / 6 noodles (overlapping) / 1/3 ricotta mixture / 6 slices of mozzarella / 2 cups of meat sauce / 1/3 of the parmesan / 6 noodles (overlapping) / remaining ricotta mixture / 6 slices of mozzarella / 2 cups of meat sauce / remaining parmesan / remaining mozzarella. Cover loosely with foil: to prevent sticking spray foil with cooking spray.
  7. Bake: Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 20- 25 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • If you don't want to mess with all the fresh herbs and sauteing them (but oil that has been gently infused with fresh herbs gives the sauce a subtle hint of herbal deliciousness) you can replace them with 1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning blend (or ground oregano). No need to saute the dried herbs.
  • You do NOT need to use no boil noodles. This recipe uses dry wavy lasagna noodles soaked in hot water as opposed to boiling water on the stove.
  • To Make Ahead: Assemble lasagna, cover and refigerate for up to 48 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking as directed in the recipe. If you'd like to freeze your unbaked lasagna, place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw before baking as instructed above.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 656Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 959mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 45g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used.

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close up of classic lasagna servings on a plate